The International Circus festival of Monte-Carlo is one of the most important events in the world of Circus performers.
Created in 1974 by S.A.S. Prince Rainier III of Monaco the festival is a celebration of the magical and mesmerising circus world.
Prince Rainier III had a lifelong passion for the arts and believed that he could do something to share the magic and enthusiasm that he himself felt. During the opening fiesta he gave a speech outlining his vision. The festival was created more than anything for the circus community. He wanted to bring these families and their craft into the limelight so that the spectators could really learn to appreciate the art and dedication behind each act.
The festival is made up of a carefully chosen selection of some of the best acts in the business. These acts are chosen on an international scale with acts differing greatly in style and genre. Once the selection process is over the performers will present their acts twice to a paying audience as well as a professional jury. This jury consists of journalists, specialists as well as circus performers. Up until 2005 the jury was presided over by the Prince Rainier III himself, but since his demise the mantle was taken over by S.A.S. Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
Each year the jury awards the most outstanding acts with the Gold, Silver and Bronze clown awards. In the community of circus performers these awards have become the equivalent of winning an Oscar award. Other awards granted by various organizations, the citizens of Monaco and individuals are also part of the event. Since its creation it has become one of the most important events of the circus calendar. It is interesting to note that it as in fact the first ever true circus festival to be founded in the Western world.
Each year between the end of December to early January the event takes place in the area of Fontvielle. For many years it took place infer the big top of various circuses but since 1995 the event takes place under a permanent structure on the esplanade de Fontvielle. Since 2005 Princess Stephanie has taken over the task of managing over the event. She has dedicated herself to travelling the world to select the best acts. Bringing a strong professional touch to preserving and promoting the essence of the traditional circus.
Her efforts have extended further than the yearly event with the creation of Federation Mondiale du Cirque, Global Circus Federation, which is permanently located in the Principality of Monaco.
People from all over the world travel to see the event and it id worth every effort, if it is just to experience the wide wonder and amazement that is an integral part of any circus.